Business investment in Britain in the first quarter of this year fell for the first time since the start of the Iraq war two years ago, official data shows.
The Office for National Statistics said business investment fell 0.1 per cent in the first three months of this year after rising by 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year.
Investment was up 2.9 per cent on the same period a year earlier at £29.6 billion. The figures are adjusted for inflation.
Economists said it raised the risk that last month's preliminary estimate of GDP growth for the first quarter will be revised down this week. "The data increases the likelihood that quarter one GDP will be revised down to 0.5 per cent from 0.6 per cent," said Ross Walker, UK economist at RBS Financial Markets.
"The outturn could even result in an even larger downward revision to GDP to 0.4 per cent, but this is unlikely and we stick with 0.5 per cent."
The provisional estimate of business investment by private and public sector manufacturing fell by 1.5 per cent from the previous quarter to £3.49 billion from £3.55 billion, and was up 4.3 per cent from a year earlier.
Within the private sector, business investment in services rose to £22.47 billion from £22.27 billion in the fourth quarter.